Is Patrick Marleau the cure for what's ailing the Caps? This article makes the case that the Sharks are hopping mad about their most recent early exit from the playoffs, and opens up the "trade Marleau" rumors anew. Could Patrick Marleau be the next second line center for the Washington Capitals?
Marleau would be a good fit for the Caps (he would be for almost any team). He's a 2009 all-star and an established scorer, with 334 goals and 610 points in 871 games (more stats here). And he's one of the league's top defensive forwards. Marleau is a natural center, but he was moved to wing last year so the Sharks could hand the keys to the second line to Joe Pavelski, who had a great year.
And that, in a nutshell, is why moving him could make sense to the Sharks. Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski are the Sharks' top two centers. Marleau has been the team's captain for five very disappointing years, leading some in the press to ask how he could possibly stick around for next year. Here's a breakdown of the Sharks' cap situation. A bunch of the Sharks' young studs are due for pay increases this year. Meanwhile, Rob Blake is a UFA who will very likely be replaced on D. In short, the Sharks could really benefit from moving a big contract, and Marleau's make the most sense.
The deal could also work for the Caps. Imagine Morrisonn and Fleishmann for Marleau. The deal works for both teams. The Sharks receive cheap-ish NHL caliber talent, including a 2nd pairing D to replace Blake and an LW to replace Marleau. Marleau and Nylander can compete for the second line center role: If Marleau loses out, he moves back to wing. (If Nylander loses out, he hopefully moves to Mars) And there are other variations of deals that could work. For example, Doug Wilson in San Jose is intent on getting a first round draft pick. The key is that the Caps have to move Nylander (unlikely) or Mo and Theodore (more likely). Basically, if the Caps are willing to send Theo to the AHL (and eat his salary), they have the cap space to do this. And a key element is that Marleau is a UFA in 2010. So he'll be playing for his next big contract, and he could come off the books in time for the team to re-sign Semin and Backstrom.
A possible impediment is that Marleau has a no movement clause, but you can imagine far worse situations for him than the Caps so I think he might be willing to waive it. So would you like to see Marleau between Semin and Laich next year? That could honestly be both a pretty good scoring line and a defensive shutdown line.